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How to Run for City Treasurer

3 min read
Good Party Politics Team · Mar 25, 2024

As a public official, a city treasurer manages the financial responsibilities of a municipality or city. The treasurer monitors and protects the city’s financial assets. These monetary resources may include investments, disbursements, revenue intake, and financial records. As a primary member of the local financial administration, the treasurer is responsible for ensuring the stable well-being of the city. 

In this guide, we’ll walk through the main responsibilities and duties of a city treasurer, the qualifications candidates must meet to run for this office, and the key variations between treasurers in different locations.

Understanding the Major Responsibilities of a City Treasurer

A municipal treasurer must have a comprehensive understanding of essential financial principles and practices. Other major requirements of this administrative position include a thorough knowledge of local government tax regulations and standard accounting principles.

After evaluating the city’s current financial requirements and future needs, the treasurer’s main role is to guide other city officials. The treasurer may support the city manager and others in structuring plans to promote strong, sustainable financial growth. Because of this, a full understanding of compliance requirements is also necessary for success as city treasurer.

Additional duties typically include the following:

  • Managing the Annual Budget: The treasurer plays a major role in preparing and managing the annual budget. In conjunction with other city officials, the treasurer evaluates the municipality’s financial needs. After a thorough assessment of those needs, the officials allocate funds to accurately support the city’s priorities. 

  • Analyzing and Adjusting Tax Rates: City treasurers study and evaluate streams of revenue as well as tax collections to set appropriate tax rates. They also determine the financial effects of potential rate changes. Their ultimate goal is to make certain that all tax regulations are fair as well as sustainable.

  • Managing Building Permit Fees: Overseeing the collection of building permit fees is often a duty of city treasurers. Treasurers make sure that the collection of fees owed by developers and heads of construction projects are paid accurately and promptly when due. These fees help fund public works, infrastructure enhancements, and many citywide services.

  • Managing Existing and New Debt: A treasurer is given the responsibility of managing the city’s financial obligations. This includes both new and existing debt. The treasurer also determines the city’s borrowing needs and negotiates the best possible terms with lenders. 

  • Finalizing and Distributing Monthly Reports: To ensure accountability and transparency, city treasurers typically finalize and distribute detailed financial reports on a monthly schedule. These reports offer a clarified, well-defined explanation of the city’s financial state, expense requirements, revenues, and investment status and returns. 

Keep in mind that there may be some variation between the specific duties and responsibilities of treasurers in different locations.


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A Treasurer’s Term in Office

The typical term of a municipal treasurer across the United States is four years. 

In most states, the legal authority to perform the requirements of this government position is regulated by the state constitution or code. The responsibilities and goals of a treasurer may also be governed by charter provisions, local ordinances, court decisions, case law, or opinions from the state attorney general.

Partisan or Nonpartisan?

The position of city treasurer can be a partisan or nonpartisan office, depending on the location. In many areas, local elections, including those for treasurer, are conducted on a nonpartisan basis. This means that candidates running for office do not have to specify a party affiliation. In partisan elections, candidates typically list their party affiliation, or lack thereof.

Qualifications and Eligibility Criteria

Assuming the responsibilities of treasurer requires some degree of political acumen. This is true whether a treasurer is elected by voters or appointed by elected officials.

To be eligible to run for treasurer, you’ll typically need to be a registered voter in your city, a resident of your city or district, and a citizen of the state where you live. While not typically required, a background in finance, economics, or a related field can also prove beneficial. Strong communication skills, excellent analytical abilities, and a passion for serving your community are also important.

Want to learn the specific eligibility requirements for treasurers in your community? Explore upcoming elections in your community here, and find out what criteria you need to meet to run for treasurer in your city.

Launching Your Campaign for Treasurer

Launching a successful campaign for treasurer requires meticulous planning and execution. Follow these steps to ensure your campaign's success:

  • Comply with Eligibility and Filing Requirements: Before embarking on your campaign journey, it's crucial to have a thorough understanding of the legal landscape. This means familiarizing yourself with all eligibility criteria and paying close attention to filing deadlines and any paperwork you need to submit. Compliance with these requirements is foundational, as any oversight could disqualify you from the race before it even begins.

  • Understand Your Win Number: Success in any election hinges on securing a sufficient number of votes. Begin by analyzing past election results to estimate the likely voter turnout and the number of votes required to win. This analysis will help you set realistic goals for your voter outreach efforts and focus your campaign’s resources on activities that maximize voter turnout among your target demographics.

  • Create a Dynamic Campaign Strategy: A winning campaign strategy is one that resonates with voters. This involves crafting a dynamic campaign message that highlights your qualifications, vision, and goals. Your strategy should also identify key voter demographics and tailor messages to appeal directly to their interests and concerns. 

  • Market Your Campaign to Voters: Effective marketing is key to making your campaign visible and appealing to voters. Use a mix of traditional and digital marketing tools to reach a broad audience. This might include social media, local newspapers, community events, and direct mail campaigns. Personalized outreach efforts, such as door-to-door canvassing or town hall meetings, can also be highly effective in building a base of loyal supporters. 

  • Monitor and Adapt: A successful campaign is agile and responsive. Track the performance of your campaign activities and voter engagement metrics. Then use this data to analyze what's working and what isn't. Be prepared to adjust your strategy and tactics accordingly. 

Remember that every campaign is different. What works for one campaign may not work for another, so be sure to listen to your community and find the right campaign strategy for you.

Get Started with Free Campaign Resources

Ready to run for treasurer? Independent, non-partisan, and third-party candidates can get free access to AI-powered campaign tools, expert support, and more through Good Party’s AI Campaign Manager. Candidates can also get access to low-cost voter data and SMS messaging support. Book a meeting with our team today, and learn how our free tools and resources can give your campaign the boost it needs.

Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash


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How to Run for Office
By Good Party Politics Team
The politics team is focused on transforming the political landscape by promoting transparency, accountability, and positive change. They aim to engage citizens in the political process, encourage informed decision-making, and support candidates who prioritize the common good. Their mission revolves around creating a more fair and just political system, fostering collaboration, and breaking down traditional barriers of partisanship.